Nicola Sturgeon: Scottish Government will block Tory repeal of Human Rights Act
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to block the repeal of the Human Rights Act, as proposed by the Tories.
Sturgeon said it is “inconceivable” that Holyrood would go along with the plans to scrap the HRA, and that it would be a “monumental mistake”.
In addition, she said she had “no interest” in a deal to protect human rights in Scotland if it weakened them in other parts of the UK.
Previously announced plans to scrap the Human Rights Act were earlier this year confirmed in Parliament.
Earlier this year the Conservative Party announced plans to scrap the Human Rights Act, and replace it with a British Bill of Rights.
When asked in the House of Commons when plans would be confirmed, justice minister Dominic Raab said it would happen imminently.
“We will bring forward proposals on a bill of rights this autumn, they will be subject to full consultation. The preparation is going well,” he said.
There has been speculation that Justice Secretary Michael Gove will propose that the HRA will still remain in Scotland, even if it is repealed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Sturgeon predicted that the move would be opposed in the Scottish Parliament.
She made the comments addressing civic organisations at the Pearce Institute in Glasgow.
She said: “Human rights itself is a devolved issue. That means that any attempt to amend the Human Rights Act is likely, in our view, to require the legislative consent of the Scottish Parliament.
“It is inconceivable in my opinion, given the support which the act commands across the Scottish Parliament, that such consent would be granted.
“Let me make absolutely clear today, the Scottish government will certainly advocate that it is not granted.”
The First Minister said the proposals created a “completely unnecessary dilemma”.
Going on, she said: “Nobody believes that the UK government will strengthen existing human rights protections.
“But the UK government must also know that any legislation which weakens human rights protections, will diminish the UK’s reputation overseas, damage relations with devolved governments, and impact on the welfare of people within the UK.
“Repealing the Human Rights Act meets no pressing need, and addresses no obvious problem. There is instead a clear risk that it will create legal confusion, harm people in the UK who need support and protection, and give comfort to illiberal governments around the world.
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“No responsible government should even be considering such a step.”
Dominic Raab, the UK’s minister for human rights, said: ‘A Bill of Rights will restore some common sense to our human rights laws.
“We will be consulting widely, including with the Scottish government. We hope that the Scottish government will engage seriously on the substance of the issue instead of baseless scaremongering.”
But Scottish Labour has expressed support for Ms Sturgeon’s words.